‘Rogue’ asbestos company caught; director imprisoned over unlicensed works

‘Rogue’ asbestos company caught; director imprisoned over unlicensed works

A ‘rogue’ asbestos company has been fined in Manchester after it was discovered they had conducted asbestos removal works and dumped contaminated material in the street, all while not holding an appropriate asbestos license and, in addition, having falsified documents.

Asbestos Boss Ltd was hired by a resident in Stockport, on the outskirts of Machester, to remove asbestos insulation panels from a garage in September 2021. The material was dumped at the property and allegedly ‘littered’ both the road and footpath outside the home.

A subsequent investigation by the Stockport Council Trading Standards and the UK’s safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), found that the firm had never held an asbestos removal license despite claiming that they did in advertising.

The investigation also found a number of similar cases the firm had been involved with, revealing a history of ‘little to no precautions’ being taken. In one instance, a client hired the firm to remove asbestos insulation panels from cupboards for £3,000. The work was of such poor quality, according to the prosecution, that the homeowner was quoted £64,000 to correct the issue.

Council chiefs said ‘their poor working practices resulted in the large scale spread of asbestos and exposure to homeowners and their families’ and that by doing the work himself, director Cockcroft had ‘chanced his own life.’

The investigation also revealed that the company had falsified asbestos training certificates and insurance notices, as well as breaching a prohibition notice several times.

Stockport Trading Standards charged the company for fraud by false representation, in relation to falsifying documents with the intent to deceive, as well as unauthorised use of trade and accreditation logos.

The HSE charged the company and directors for removing asbestos without a licence, failure to prevent spread of asbestos and breach of the prohibition notice at two properties.

Cockcroft, the director, pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to ten months in prison, while the company was convicted of all charges and will be sentenced at a later date.

Cockcroft of Darnes Avenue, Pyenest, Halifax, pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to ten months in prison by a judge at Manchester Magistrates Court.

The company were not represented in court but was convicted of all charges against them after a trial in their absence. They will be sentenced at a separate hearing.

HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said: “This case should serve as a warning to any other companies who think they can make a quick profit by cutting corners and risking lives. I also hope that potential customers will be able to avoid rogue companies like Asbestos Boss by carrying out simple checks to ensure that any company they employ is legitimate and competent to prevent them and their families being put at serious risk.”

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